As drivers in West Virginia, we see many huge trucks: coal trucks, logging trucks and 18-wheelers.
However, it is unwise to become too complacent around them. Some trucks carry too large a load, which is a leading cause of truck-related crashes.
Unsafe to drive
An overloaded 18-wheeler violates certain state and federal regulations and is not safe to operate. Overloaded cargo causes the truck to be off balance, which increases the possibility of the driver losing control of the vehicle at some point. An inexperienced driver, especially, may not realize that the excess cargo will result in an increase in the stopping distance required. The extra weight will also cause a truck to go down a hill much faster than it normally would, requiring more braking pressure than anticipated. Overloaded cargo can easily shift when the truck turns or goes around a bend, and this issue makes a semi prone to a rollover, which could result in a devastating truck-car crash.
Wear and tear issues
Overloading strains operating performance and hastens wear and tear on component parts. For example, brakes wear out more quickly along with tires because the extra weight makes them run hotter. Improper load distribution can also adversely affect axles and suspension components, which, in turn, impair vehicle operation.
What to look for
An overloaded truck is difficult to spot, but there are a few telltale signs. If driving near a semi, look for a sagging rear end or for worn tires. Steer clear if the big rig drifts and has trouble staying inside its lane. While the latter could be a sign of driver fatigue or distraction, it could also mean the driver is having trouble controlling an off-balance truck.
If the worst occurs and you become the victim of a truck-car accident, you deserve full and fair compensation for any injuries you suffer. An investigation will begin to determine responsibility for the crash. With the involvement of a commercial truck, several parties may share liability, including the truck driver, the company that owns the truck, the company that provides maintenance and the party responsible for having loaded the truck.